North Dakota Senate Kills $352 Million Income Tax Package


Yesterday I wrote of the food fight going on between the North Dakota House and the Senate over HB1250, a package of income tax cuts. Well, yesterday evening the House (after much contentions debate) passed a $352 million package ($251 million in cuts for personal incomes, $101 million for corporate) with a strong, bi-partisan 76-vote majority.

Unfortunately, that package of tax cuts ran into a brick wall in the Senate where Finance and Tax Chairman Dwight Cook stood up to argue that $352 million was too much in tax relief for North Dakotans.

Here’s Senator Cook’s speech, watch the entire floor debate here.

“That $100 million can better be spent on property tax relief,” Senator Cook said. That’s a little ridiculous, given that the “property tax relief” passed by the legislature isn’t money going back to taxpayers but is rather an enormous bailout to local governments with no guarantees that property taxes won’t continue to increase in the future.

The income tax relief is actual property tax relief. It cuts rates. It means more in our paychecks. It means more in our pockets, directly.

But I suspect Senator Cook might be motivated by politics. He invested a lot of political capital in his plan for oil tax restructuring that, while it passed in the Senate, fell flat in the House by a 6-87 vote.

Not coincidentally, I think, the carrier of Cook’s oil tax bill in the House who took his committee’s “do not pass” recommendation to the floor was Rep. Craig Headland who was also the prime sponsor of HB1250.

Political payback? That seems likely, along with the fact that North Dakota’s Senate chamber just likes to spend rather than cut taxes.